on January 2, 2014 - 9:02 PM
Dec. 23, 1927 – Nov. 22, 2013
William L. Waytena, of Clarence, an electrical engineer who became a principal partner in many local business ventures, died Nov. 22 in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85.
Born in Elmira, the youngest of 10 children, he served in the Navy in World War II aboard the USS Colorado, then earned a degree in electrical engineering from Alfred University. He later received an engineering degree from the University of Buffalo.
He joined Bell Aircraft in the 1950s, then was part of an engineering team that formed Radatron Inc. to market the Radar Sentry, which warned drivers of police radar.
In 1970, he introduced himself to Robert Moog, inventor of the electronic music synthesizer, and helped design the Minimoog, which made the instrument popular.
Mr. Waytena also was a principal partner in Kistler Instruments, Venture Technology, Clearwater Systems, the Hotel Worth and Andco Industries.
He served as chairman and chief executive officer of ATSI Inc., formerly Anco Technical Services Inc., from 1977 until his retirement in 2011.
Mr. Waytena was a longtime member of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, the Clarence Rotary Club, the Buffalo Club and Transit Valley Country Club.
An avid golfer and hunter, he also was a connoisseur of fine food and wine, and was a member of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs.
Mr. Waytena made extensive philanthropic donations, many of them anonymously.
In 1980, he led his wife to safety through a fire in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas in which 85 people died.
He also saved a stranger, whom he carried from the smoke-filled building.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Louise Ziolkowski; three daughters, Susan W. O’Hara, Gail L. and Alexa A. Renehan; two sons, Daniel F. and William L. Jr.; a sister, Anne Kopko; and six grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Nov. 26 in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Clarence.